The New Translation in a Clear Voice

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
31 Mar 2011

Cardinal George Pell addressing the conference

More than 250 primary and secondary RE coordinators, advisors, teachers, priests, chaplains and parish representatives from around the Archdiocese gathered this week to hear and discuss the New Translation changes to the Roman Missal.

It is the first time such a large group has been brought together by the Catholic Education Office. They met for a full day to hear in detail the reasoning behind the changes and discuss how best to introduce the new translation into their teachings.

Cardinal George Pell, who also chairs the Vox Clara Committee was the first key speaker.

The Vox Clara Committee was a new body established by Pope John Paul 11 on 20 April 2002 to be representative of the world's English-speaking bishops' conferences with the role of" assisting and advising the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments in fulfilling responsibilities with regard to the English translation of liturgical texts".

This has resulted in a more literal and accurate translation of the original Latin of the Roman Missal.

Vox Clara Committee with Pope Benedict XVI

It is the translation into English that has changed, not the original prayers of the Mass. Most changes will be said by the priest. Also at this stage the Lectionary has not undergone revision or a new translation.

The gathering at Waterview Convention Centre, Homebush, also heard many of the "new translation rumours" debunked.

For example the New Translation was not "imposed" by Rome and the Eucharist is still most certainly the centre of the Mass.

The International Commission on English in the Liturgy worked with expert English speaking  translators, sensitive to all the nuances of the text.

Their work was sent to the bishops' conferences for approval and then with the advice and work of the Vox Clara Committee, to  the Congregation for Divine Worship for final approval.

"There was enormous involvement by professional people -English translators - as well as the bishop," Cardinal Pell emphasised to the gathering.

However some priests have already voiced their displeasure with the changes. "The priest is not the centre of the Mass," Cardinal Pell said.

"The Mass is not a one man show."

RE Coordinators at the CEO gathering

Cardinal Pell believes when those priests become familiar with the way the changes were undertaken and the results, there will be few who will remain displeased.

Parishioners too, he believes, will come to see the improvements with the translation.

The changes are being introduced over three phases.

Between now and Pentecost - communities are looking at the revised texts and the new texts may be sung. Phase 2 - Pentecost to November -  training and catechesis continues and new or revised Mass settings are sung with the older ones phased out by November. The new greetings, invitations and the people's responses begin to be used along with other prayers. They can be phased in gradually or all at once.

Phase 3 - After November - the final changes and prayers can be used.

The Director of the Liturgy Office, Fr Don Richardson also explained to the group, step-by-step and in detail the changes in the new translation.

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Cardinal George Pell interviewed on the New Translation

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